Savings & Investments
We provide expertise and guidance on ISA's, savings and investments.
These have developed over many years of tax legislation to include some interesting features, including the 'tax wrapper'. These features can make investment bonds attractive for both tax, and Inheritance Tax planning
These are the oldest form of pooled investment. Investment trusts are companies with shares quoted on the London Stock Exchange, whose business is to invest in the shares of other companies. Investors buy and sell shares in the investment trust company itself, which shares are fixed in number (thus the phrase closed-end fund). As such, investors are shareholders in the investment trust company, with normal shareholder rights. The value of those shares is established by demand and supply in the market, as well as by the underlying value of the company's holdings.
Unit Trusts & OEIC’s
Most people understand the benefits of collective investment. The investment risk is spread over a range or ‘basket’ of investments, a professional manager makes investment decisions on your behalf, there are economies of scale and they can provide increased liquidity for investors. Unit trusts and OEICs are collective investments, which are 'open-ended' (OEIC stands for open-ended investment company). That means as more money is invested in the fund, more units are added. Investment may be made by regular monthly direct debits or lump sum.
Individuals - Understanding your individual tax position is vital in recommending the right plan. There is little point in achieving your objectives if any income or growth generated is taxed inefficiently. We will consider using investments that use your tax allowances in an efficient way to gain the most benefit from your investments. Examples of this could be to use your capital gains tax (CGT) allowance, (£11,700 gross in 2018/2019), and your ISA allowance.
Higher rate income tax usually starts at a level of £46,350 gross pa in the tax year 2018/2019. This takes into account the personal allowance which is £11,700 gross in the current tax year.
ISA / NISA contribution allowance
The ISA/NISA limit for the current tax year (2018/2019) is £20,000.
On 01 July 2014, greater flexibility was introduced in the way this money can be invested (cash and stocks & shares). This is referred to as the New ISA (NISA for short). From April 2016, savers have the flexibility to take money out of their ISAs and pay it back in, without this counting towards their annual ISA allowance.
Also, possibly more interesting for some, the value of the ISA passed on in the event of death to a spouse/civil partner can now continue to enjoy its beneficial tax status into the future.
Help to Buy ISAs
Help to Buy ISAs are a new initiative from the Government, released in December 2015. Although many deposit providers have taken some time to come to market, there are a few attractive offerings now available from household names. Many parents and grandparents have shown interest in these plans for the younger generations who need all the help they can get onto the property ladder. The full details from the Government can be found online at the following address: www.helptobuy.gov.uk
For those saving to buy their first home and contributing to a Help to Buy ISA, the Government will boost these savings by 25%. So every £200 saved would attract a bonus of £50. The maximum Government bonus a saver can receive is £3,000.
As announced in the Budget on 16 March 2016, a new Lifetime ISA came into effect from April 2017, allowing those aged between 18 and 40 to save up to £4,000 a year until their age of 50. Contributions into the Lifetime ISA will receive a government bonus of £1 for every £4 contributed, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year. The accumulated fund value can be used towards a deposit on a first home worth up to £450,000 or to save for retirement.
Accounts are one per person, not one per home. Individuals will be able to withdraw the savings at any time before the age of 60 for any other purpose, but will then lose the government bonus, and any interest / growth on this, and will also have to pay a 5.0% charge. The Government is exploring whether to allow people to replace their contributions at a later date and to retain the bonus.
After the age of 60, individuals can take out all the savings tax-free.
For those with Help to Buy ISAs, these funds can be transferred into the Lifetime ISA or saving into both can continue. However, the bonus from one fund only can be used to buy a house.
Saving for Children
Historically equities perform better in the long term over cash and bonds. So it is surprising how many people save for their children in cash savings accounts. There are several opportunities for tax-efficient saving plans for children. Junior ISAs - this government initiative gives every child their own ISA allowance of £4,250 per year. As an interesting alternative, did you know that a minor may have a pension, and receive tax relief at the basic rate on the contributions? For every £80 contributed, government will contribute £20. The projections are attractive, but of course, the term means that benefits cannot be taken before age 55. This has proved popular, particularly with grandparents concerned about their grandchildren's pension prospects and an additional solution to reduce any potential Inheritance Tax liabilities.